Jamaica 2003Jamaica

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Jamaica - Introduction 2003
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Background: Jamaica gained full independence within the British Commonwealth in 1962. Deteriorating economic conditions during the 1970s led to recurrent violence and a dropoff in tourism. Elections in 1980 saw the democratic socialists voted out of office. Subsequent governments have been open market oriented. Political violence marred elections during the 1990s.

Jamaica - Geography 2003
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Location: Caribbean island in the Caribbean Sea south of Cuba

Geographic coordinates: 18 15 N 77 30 W

Map referenceCentral America and the Caribbean

Total: 10,991 km²
Land: 10,831 km²
Water: 160 km²
Comparative: slightly smaller than Connecticut

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 1022 km

Maritime claims
Exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
Territorial sea: 12 NM
Continental shelf: 200 NM or to edge of the continental margin
Contiguous zone: 24 NM

Climate: tropical; hot humid; temperate interior

Terrain: mostly mountains with narrow discontinuous coastal plain

Extremes lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
Extremes highest point: Blue Mountain Peak 2,256 m

Natural resources: bauxite gypsum limestone
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 16.07%
Permanent crops: 9.23%
Other: 74.7% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land: 250 km² (1998 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: hurricanes (especially July to November)

Note: strategic location between Cayman Trench and Jamaica Channel the main sea lanes for the Panama Canal

Jamaica - People 2003
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Population: 2,695,867 (July 2003 est.)
Growth rate: 0.61% (2003 est.)
Below poverty line: 34.2% (1992 est.)

Noun: Jamaican
Adjective: Jamaican

Ethnic groups: black 90.9% East Indian 1.3% white 0.2% Chinese 0.2% mixed 7.3% other 0.1%

Languages: English patois English

Religions: Protestant 61.3% (Church of God 21.2% Baptist 8.8% Anglican 5.5% Seventh-Day Adventist 9% Pentecostal 7.6% Methodist 2.7% United Church 2.7% Brethren 1.1% Jehovah's Witness 1.6% Moravian 1.1%) Roman Catholic 4% other including some spiritual cults 34.7%

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 28.6% (male 395,074; female 376,870)
15-64 years: 64.5% (male 870,486; female 869,431)
65 years and over: 6.8% (male 82,022; female 101,984) (2003 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age
Total: 26.5 years
Male: 25.8 years
Female: 27.2 years (2002)

Population growth rate: 0.61% (2003 est.)

Birth rate: 17.35 births/1000 population (2003 est.)

Death rate: 5.42 deaths/1000 population (2003 est.)

Net migration rate: -5.78 migrant(s)/1000 population (2003 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: heavy rates of deforestation; coastal waters polluted by industrial waste sewage and oil spills; damage to coral reefs; air pollution in Kingston results from vehicle emissions
International agreements party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
International agreements signed but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.05 male/female
Under 15 years: 1.05 male/female
15-64 years: 1 male/female
65 years and over: 0.8 male/female
Total population: 1 male/female (2003 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate
Total: 13.26 deaths/1000 live births
Female: 12.17 deaths/1000 live births (2003 est.)
Male: 14.3 deaths/1000 live births

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 75.85 years
Male: 73.84 years
Female: 77.97 years (2003 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.01 children born/woman (2003 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access

Adult prevalence rate: 1.2% (2001 est.)
People living with hivaids: 20,000 (2001 est.)
Deaths: 980 (2001 est.)

Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
Total population: 87.9%
Male: 84.1%
Female: 91.6% (2003 est.)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Jamaica - Government 2003
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Country name
Conventional long form: none
Conventional short form: Jamaica

Government type: constitutional parliamentary democracy

Capital: Kingston

Administrative divisions: 14 parishes; Clarendon Hanover Kingston Manchester Portland Saint Andrew Saint Ann Saint Catherine Saint Elizabeth Saint James Saint Mary Saint Thomas Trelawny Westmoreland

Dependent areas

Independence: 6 August 1962 (from UK)

National holiday: Independence Day first Monday in August (1962)

Constitution: 6 August 1962

Legal system: based on English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Sir Howard Felix COOKE (since 1 August 1991)
Head of government: Prime Minister Percival James PATTERSON (since 30 March 1992)
Cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister
Elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the prime minister; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition in the House of Representatives is appointed prime minister by the governor general; the deputy prime minister is recommended by the prime minister

Legislative branch
Elections: last held 16 October 2002 (next to be held NA October 2007)
Election results: percent of vote by party - PNP 52%, JLP 47.3%; seats by party - PNP 34, JLP 26

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (judges appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister); Court of Appeal

Political parties and leaders: Jamaica Labor Party or JLP [Edward SEAGA]; National Democratic Movement or NDM [Bruce GOLDING]; People's National Party or PNP [Percival James PATTERSON]


Diplomatic representation
In the us chief of mission: Ambassador Seymour MULLINGS
In the us consulates general: Miami and New York
In the us fax: [1] (202) 452-0081
In the us telephone: [1] (202) 452-0660
In the us chancery: 1520 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20,036
From the us chief of mission: Ambassador Sue McCourt COBB
From the us embassy: Jamaica Mutual Life Center, 2 Oxford Road, 3rd floor, Kingston 5
From the us mailing address: use embassy street address
From the us telephone: [1] (876) 929-4,850 through 4,859
From the us fax: [1] (876) 935-6,001

Flag descriptionflag of Jamaica: diagonal yellow cross divides the flag into four triangles - green (top and bottom) and black (hoist side and outer side)

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Jamaica - Economy 2003
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Economy overview: The economy which depends heavily on tourism and bauxite has been stagnant since 1995. After five years of recession the economy inched ahead by 0.8% in 2000 1.7% in 2001 and 0.8% in 2002; the global economic slowdown particularly in the United States after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks has stunted the economic recovery. Serious problems include: high interest rates; increased foreign competition; a pressured sometimes sliding exchange rate; a widening merchandise trade deficit; and a growing internal debt the result of government bailouts to various ailing sectors of the economy particularly the financial sector. Depressed economic conditions have led to increased civil unrest including serious violent crime. Jamaica's medium-term prospects will depend upon encouraging investment and tourism maintaining a competitive exchange rate selling off reacquired firms and implementing proper fiscal and monetary policies.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 1% (2002 est.)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin
Agriculture: 6%
Industry: 31%
Services: 63% (2002 est.)

Agriculture products: sugarcane bananas coffee citrus potatoes vegetables; poultry goats milk

Industries: tourism bauxite textiles food processing light manufactures rum cement metal paper chemical products

Industrial production growth rate: -2% (2000 est.)

Labor force: 1.13 million (1998)
By occupation services: 60%
By occupation agriculture: 21%
By occupation industry: 19% (1998)
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 15.4% (2002 est.)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line: 34.2% (1992 est.)

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share
Lowest 10: 2.7%
Highest 10: 30.3% (2000)

Distribution of family income gini index: 37.9 (2000)

Revenues: $2.23 billion
Expenditures: $2.56 billion, including capital expenditures of $232.5 million (FY 99/00 est.)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices: 7% (2002 est.)

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Exports: $1.4 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Commodities: alumina bauxite; sugar bananas rum
Partners: US 28.1% Canada 12.2% Norway 10.7% UK 10.5% Germany 7% Netherlands 5.6% (2002)

Imports: $3.1 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Commodities: machinery and transport equipment construction materials fuel food chemicals fertilizers
Partners: US 45% Trinidad and Tobago 11% Japan 4.7% (2002)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $5.3 billion (2002 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: Jamaican dollars per US dollar - 48.42 (2002) 46 (2001) 42.7 (2000) 39.04 (1999) 36.55 (1998)

Jamaica - Energy 2003
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 6.272 billion kWh (2001)
By source fossil fuel: 96.8%
By source hydro: 1.8%
By source other: 1.5% (2001)
By source nuclear: 0%

Electricity consumption: 5.833 billion kWh (2001)

Electricity exports: 0 kWh (2001)

Electricity imports: 0 kWh (2001)

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Jamaica - Communication 2003
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular: 54,640 (1996)

Telephone system
General assessment: fully automatic domestic telephone network
Domestic: NA
International: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); 3 coaxial submarine cables

Broadcast media

Internet country code: .jm

Internet users: 100,000 (2002)

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Jamaica - Military 2003
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $30 million (FY95/96 est.)
Percent of gdp: NA%

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Jamaica - Transportation 2003
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 35 (2002)
With paved runways total: 11
With paved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 2
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 1
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 3
With paved runways under 914 m: 5 (2002)
With unpaved runways total: 24
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 2
With unpaved runways under 914 m: 22 (2002)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 11
2438 to 3047 m: 2
15-24 to 2437 m: 1
914 to 1523 m: 3
Under 914 m: 5 (2002)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 24
914 to 1523 m: 2
Under 914 m: 22 (2002)


Pipelines: petroleum products 10 km

Total: 272 km
Standard gauge: 272 km 1.435-m gauge; note - 207 km, belonging to the Jamaica Railway Corporation, were in common carrier service but are no longer operational; the remaining track is privately owned and used to transport bauxite (2002)


Waterways: none

Merchant marine
Total: 5 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 50,536 GRT/62,868 DWT
Ships by type: bulk 1, petroleum tanker 1, refrigerated cargo 2, short-sea passenger 1
Note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Latvia 2, US 2 (2002 est.)

Ports and terminals

Jamaica - Transnational issues 2003
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Disputes international: none

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs: major transshipment point for cocaine from South America to North America and Europe; illicit cultivation of cannabis; government has an active manual cannabis eradication program; corruption is a major concern; substantial money-laundering activity; Colombian narcotics traffickers favor Jamaica for illicit financial transactions

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